The Dredge, located on Torch Lake on M-26 heading out of Hancock towards Lake Linden, is a favorite historical marker in the Copper Country. Its actual name is Quincy Dredge Number Two, and before that, the Calumet and Hecla Dredge Number One. Today, you find it abandoned in the lake’s shallow water across from the Quincy Mining Company Stamp Mills Historic District. It was constructed to reclaim stamping sand from the bottom of the lake for further processing of the copper ore. In 1978, it was designated a Michigan State Historic Site.
History of the Dredge
The Calumet and Hecla Mining Company originally built it in 1914. The purpose of the Dredge was to reclaim previously thought “worthless” stamp sand. However, new and advanced technology found that reclaiming the old stamp sand was just as if not more profitable as pit mining. The Dredge operated until 1967 when it sank during winter in Torch Lake. The low copper prices that followed did not make it profitable to bring the Dredge out of retirement.
Specifications of the Dredge
The Dredge is a metal beast! The steel haul measures 110 feet and 56 feet wide and 9 feet deep. It could process over 10,000 short tons of stamp sand per day with a 141-foot suction pipe.
Information and Directions
It is located on M-26 heading east out of Hancock, MI. Drive 6.8 miles, and you will see it on the shoreline of Torch Lake.